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I work remotely, and my sister works at one of the company's main offices. The team in the office is very negative and has an "Us vs them" mentality when it comes to remote workers. My sister tells me that they are constantly complaining about the remote team.

Lately, it's gotten much worse, they are openly talking poorly about me by name which adds a lot of stress to my life even though I shouldn't "Know that". Every call I get on with them, I am just anticipating that after the call is over no matter what I say they will be talking trash, as confirmed by my sister.

They know my sister and I are related and don't even care. This is even one of the higher-ups in the company participating in this behavior.

In addition to this, they are very negative in emails, and this is all adding a lot of stress to my position of 10 years. Is it appropriate to talk to my boss about what I know from "the office" due to what my sister tells me?

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    How well do you trust your boss to talk to him about this? What exactly are they saying about you? is it related to your performance?
    – JMERICKS
    Jul 23 at 14:50
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    If you did tell your boss what are you expecting to happen as a result of you telling him?
    – JMERICKS
    Jul 23 at 14:54
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    What is your end game here? Exactly what are you trying to accomplish by talking to your boss?
    – Roger
    Jul 23 at 15:20
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    @JMERICKS If HR is involved, and higher-ups in the company's main office are involved, how likely is it that talking with the boss is going to make things better? What are the most likely outcomes? That's where I'm going with my question.
    – Roger
    Jul 23 at 15:36
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    @JoeStrazzere Thanks, I think that makes a lot of sense.
    – John Tyson
    Jul 23 at 16:56
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The problem with using information from your sister is that your boss will want to hear the accusations directly from her. Don't involve her unless she's willing to get involved as it could make her a target for abuse and harassment.

I suggest talking to the other remote workers to see if they also receive a lot of negativity in emails and other interactions with the office. If they do, you can raise it at a team meeting with your boss. Several of you complaining about the same thing is a lot more persuasive than "someone who isn't here overheard something".

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Is it appropriate to talk to my boss (also remote) about what I know from "the office" due to what my sister tells me?

Not really, at least not without asking her explicitly for permission. If you want to talk to your boss you will need

  1. Clear description of the behavior and some data/evidence to back it up
  2. Impact statement: how does the behavior impact your work and what's the effect on business results and goals?
  3. Actionable suggestions: what is your desired outcome and what actions are required to achieve this.
  4. End results: how does the desired outcome improve business results and goals

If you can't tie this to a real business benefit , you don't have much of a leg to stand on. If you are bringing it up just "because it makes you feel bad", chances are you will come across as a whiny complainer.

Frankly, your best option here might be to develop a thicker skin. If people talk behind your back, they are not good and useful people. Why do you care what they think and say? Focus on your work, ignore the mob, and enjoy the fact that they have to commute but you don't.

Chances are that if you don't react to it and don't give them any opening, it'll go away on it's own.

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Is it appropriate to talk to my boss (also remote) about what I know from "the office" due to what my sister tells me?

From your boss' perspective, this is nothing more than hearsay even if it is coming from your sister.

If you are going to bring up issues to your boss, they should be directly related to your work and how these other individuals are preventing you from doing your work. The fact that someone may be talking about you behind your back should not have a reasonable affect on your ability to do your work. If this situation is causing undue stress and emotional distress, you should seek the services of a medical professional that can help you cope. Your boss will not be able to do anything to change how the behavior of other employees affects you.

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Maybe the easiest solution to this problem is to tell your sister to stop gossiping? It seems to me that it's her behavior that is causing your stress, not the behavior you wouldn't know about if she didn't report it to you.

If you're worried about the negativity of the on-site team toward the remote team affecting productivity, then you should discuss that with your boss, not your sister's reports about what they're saying about you behind your back. Surely if it is actually an issue that needs solving, you have experienced something firsthand that is a result of their bad attitude toward the remote team. If not, you can say something like "I've heard rumors and I'm worried. Can you help me figure out if there is a problem between the remote team and the on-site team?"

This might be something that the entire remote team needs to be involved in; your boss might want to talk to others to see if they are also having issues to get an idea of the extent of the problem. Your impression that the negativity is supported by managers in the company and possibly even by HR is also something you could talk about with your boss without necessarily getting into specific accusations.

Your boss can help you if this is a work-related issue that is affecting your productivity. Your boss can not help you if this is just your sister ruining your productivity by driving you crazy with gossip.

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My sister tells me that they are constantly complaining about the remote team...adds a lot of stress to my life...no matter what I say they will be talking trash, as confirmed by my sister...Today they called me a "dumbass" in front of my sister...

If this is stressing you out so much, then why does your sister keep reporting what they're saying?

Ask your sister to stop passing along their insults. If she does, then that solves that problem. If she refuses, or says she'll stop but keeps bringing it up anyway, then what you actually have is a problem with your sister.

As far as the emails go, if they are actually insulting you in writing then yes, you can ask your boss for advice on how to deal with that. It isn't too much to ask to not be called a "dumbass" in business emails.

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